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Tuesday, August 7, 2018

| August 7, 2018

Field Answers USTN Lawsuit: “Ridiculous allegations.” As we reported last Monday (Talkers.com, 7/30), in a complaint filed in Harris County, Texas District Court, United States Traffic Network is suing Entercom for material and punitive damages “in excess of $5 million.” USTN alleges that Entercom entered into negotiations to buy the company and walked away from the deal at the last minute with the intent of developing a directly competitive business. Yesterday (Monday, 8/6), Entercom president/CEO David Field addressed the lawsuit in an internal memo. He writes, “The truth is we have acted in good faith and made every reasonable effort and then some to assist USTN in fixing their challenging issues.” Entercom released a statement including the following quote on the situation: “We are relieved to no longer be mired by the difficult USTN situation that was inherited as part of the CBS Radio merger. We will move quickly to augment our strong internal sales organization to ensure that we realize the full value of this inventory. With leading news brands like WINS, New York; KNX, Los Angeles; and WBBM, Chicago, Entercom has the industry’s most valuable traffic inventory. We are pleased to be in control of our own destiny as we pursue opportunities in this attractive market segment.” In response to the lawsuit, Field states, “Entercom believes it is entirely baseless, frivolous and frankly insulting. Entercom has worked tirelessly and constructively with USTN over the past six months to help USTN work through its significant financial issues. Entercom is owed substantial amounts of money by USTN, and the company intends to defend itself vigorously and assert all of its rights.” In yesterday’s memo, Field states, “To say the least, it is disappointing to read the ridiculous allegations that USTN has made when the truth is that we have acted in good faith and made every reasonable effort and then some to assist USTN in fixing their challenging issues. In order to set the record straight and ensure that you have all the facts regarding our relationship with USTN, I have included a summary of the events over the past 8 ½ months.” Click here to read the rest of Field’s memo.

Bortnick Joins iHeartMedia D.C. as Senior VP/Sales. Six-year vice president of sales for Entercom Washington (D.C.), Danny Bortnick crosses the street to become senior vice president of sales for iHeartMedia’s five stations in the Nation’s Capital. Region president Michael Preacher remarks, “We couldn’t be more pleased to welcome Danny to iHeartMedia. Danny has earned a great reputation building client-centric sales organizations while creating a positive work culture. He is the perfect fit for us.” Bortnick adds, “I am thrilled to be joining some of the most iconic brands in [the market], as well as one of the most recognizable media brands in the country.” Bortnick, who has a marketing and management degree from the University of Miami – School of Business, began his radio career 13 years ago as an account executive at Katz Radio in New York City and Atlanta. After a year at Katz, he became an account executive – and later, digital sales manager – at New York City all-news outlet WINS and then, director of sales for Salem Media Group New York City.

Saga Reports 6.5% Q2 Net Revenue Increase. For the quarter ending June 30, Saga Communications net revenue increased to $32.2 million. Meanwhile, operating income increased 2.7% to $6 million and station operating expense increased 8% to $23.1 million. Free cash flow from continuing operations was $6 million for the quarter, compared to $4.8 million for the same period last year. On a same station basis, net revenue decreased .6% to $30.1 million; operating income increased 1.5% to $6 million; and station operating expense decreased 1% to $21.2 million. The company had $52.9 million in cash on hand as of June 30, and $53.3 million as of yesterday (8/6). The company’s total long-term debt was $25 million as of June 30. Results for the quarter and six-month period were affected by the sale of the company’s television stations and purchase of radio stations in Charleston and Hilton Head (South Carolina) on September 1, 2017. Saga’s 2018 Q2 conference call will be at 11:00 am (ET) today (Tuesday, 8/7). Saga owns or operates 75 FM and 33 AM radio stations.

Gregg Receives Salute to Excellence Award. For the second consecutive year, Entercom Philadelphia’s KYW “News Radio 1060” community affairs reporter Cherri Gregg is recognized by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). This time, she will receive a “Salute to Excellence Award” at the NABJ’s gala in Detroit. Entercom Philadelphia senior vice president and market manager David Yadgaroff states, “It comes as no surprise that Cherri has been recognized once again for the exemplary work she contributes to KYW. The hard work she has committed in less than a year demonstrates why she is deserving of this honor.” Gregg remarks, “I am honored and humbled by this great recognition. This acknowledgment validates the importance of creating conversation around social issues.” Gregg was recognized in the “Public Affairs” category in “Top 15 Markets, Radio.” The specific segment – “Police Transparency – When Should Names of Officers Who Kill Be Released?” – was from her weekly program “Flashpoint,” which airs Saturdays (9:30 pm) and Sundays (8:30 am). Launched in 2017, “Flashpoint” discusses community affairs, political news, civil rights and social issues. Last year, NABJ honored Gregg with a “Salute to Excellence Award” in “TV Investigative – Top 15 Markets” for her piece “Driving While Black,” a collaboration between Entercom and KYW-TV, Philadelphia (Channel 3). Gregg, who joined Entercom in 2010, was president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (2015 – 2016) and vice president of broadcast in 2013. A member of the Pennsylvania and Georgia Bars, she has an undergraduate degree (B.S.) from Boston University; a J.D. from Howard University School of Law; and an M.J. from Temple University’s College of Communications and Theater. Gregg was named one of the Philadelphia NAACP’s Most Influential Black Women and PABJ’s Journalist of the Year in 2013.

Remembering Bill Wattenburg. Cancer has claimed the life of 82-year-old Bill Wattenburg, who died last Thursday (8/2). For 39 years (1972 – 2011), “Dr. Bill” hosted a late night show on KGO, San Francisco where the former nuclear weapons designer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory would answer questions about everything from car repairs to physics. Show promos often referred to him as “The smartest man in the world.” The three-hour program (“Open Line to the West Coast,” 10:00 pm – 1:00 am) aired Saturday and Sunday nights and originated from his home in the Sierras. An occasional caller was Clint Eastwood, who gave Wattenburg a few cameos in the “Dirty Harry” movies. Using the nom de plume Will Harvey, the inventor and former physics professor at the University of California – Berkeley authored an early-1970s best-selling book “How to Find and Fascinate a Mistress.” The success of that book led to him being booked on numerous television talk shows where he debated the merits of feminism with people such as the Gabor sisters and Gloria Steinem. As an inventor, Wattenburg had eight patents to his credit, one reportedly being the first home alarm system using electrical wiring for its communication medium. A 2011 KGO format modification from news/talk to news resulted in several hosts – including Wattenburg – exiting the station. Shortly thereafter, Wattenburg hosted a show on Zwerling Broadcasting System news/talk KSCO-AM, Santa Cruz (California), which – after his death – aired a two-hour retrospective of his radio career.

Spanish Broadcasting System Forecasts Q2 Sales, OIBDA Increases. Preliminary estimated quarter two financial results for Spanish Broadcasting System estimates that consolidated net revenue will be between $34.5 million and $34.8 million, an increase of between 1% and 2% over the same period in 2017. Adjusted OIBDA, excluding non-cash stock-based compensation, is projected at $10.8 million – $11.6 million, an increase of 34% – 44% over last year. SBS chair/chief executive officer Raul Alarcon notes, “The company has continued its positive operational momentum throughout the second quarter with strong OIBDA growth and operating margins that continue to be among the highest in the industry.  In addition, the announced $14 million sale of our surplus real estate in New York City has successfully closed, allowing for our move to newer and more suitable facilities in midtown Manhattan. A correlated and corresponding repayment of the company’s 12.5% senior secured notes from the net proceeds of the real estate sale has been undertaken, as previously envisioned. We maintain our positive view as to the continuing momentum in 2018 and will be filing our finalized second-quarter results within the next week.”

Ten Radio Groups Support NAB’s Owner Cap Modification Stance. Represented in this particular assemblage of group owners is “a cross-section of the industry” with minority-owned and family-owned entities that have stations in large and small markets. In alphabetical order by group owner, the open letter is signed by Alpha Media CEO Bob Proffitt; Connoisseur Media founder/CEO Jeff Warshaw; Emmis Communications chair/CEO Jeff Smulyan; Midwest Communications COO Michael Wright; Mid-West Family Stations president Thomas Walker; Neuhoff Communications president/CEO Beth Neuhoff; NRG Media president/CEO Mary Quass; Perry Publishing and Broadcasting chair Russell Perry; Townsquare Media co-CEOs Dhruv Prasad and Bill Wilson; and Zimmer Radio of Mid-Missouri president/owner John Zimmer. Read the entire letter here.

Round One of July 2018 PPM Data Released. The first of four rounds of ratings information from Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 PPM survey has been released for 12 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Nassau-Suffolk (Long Island), Riverside, San Jose, and Middlesex-Somerset-Union. Nielsen Audio’s July 2018 survey period covered June 21 – July 18. See all the 6+ numbers from subscribing stations here.

TALKERS News Notes. Following stints on New Jersey outlets WMTR and WCTC, Jonathan Friedman’s “Talking Sports” (8:00 pm – 10:00 pm) debuts this Saturday (8/11) on Salem Media Group New York City’s news/talk WNYM “AM 970, The Answer.” The 52-year-old New Jersey resident notes, “I wanted to bring the show to a bigger stage. Growing up in Atlanta and being a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons, Hawks, and Braves, my love for sports started early in my life. No matter who I talk to, the topic always seems to go to sports; that’s how I connect with people.” A 30-year advertising executive, Friedman has been with Success Communications Group the last 15 years and created the “Gotta Go To Mo’s” campaign for Modell’s Sporting Goods ….. St. Louis-based Project 21 co-chair Stacy Washington is broadcasting “Stacy on the Right” live nationwide. The first hour of the weekday talk program is available on all 180 stations of the American Family Radio Network. The national hour is 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm (ET) and can be streamed through the AFR website, TuneInRadio, Facebook, and YouTube. Decorated Air Force veteran and Emmy-nominated TV personality Washington began her broadcasting career several years ago as a fill-in host on news/talk KFTK, St. Louis and began a two-hour program on the Urban Family Talk Network in 2016 ….. Having added ten million listeners over the last few months, iHeartRadio officially surpasses 120 million registered users. It has over 20,000 podcasts in 20 different unique categories, including 750 iHeartRadio original podcasts ….. According to a report by Richard Deitsch in The Athletic, former NFL quarterback (St. Louis Rams, New York Giants, Arizona Cardinals) Kurt Warner will succeed Boomer Esiason as analyst on Westwood One’s “Monday Night Football” broadcasts. Hall of Famer Warner – who has filled-in when Esiason wasn’t available – would work alongside play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan. According to Deitsch, a formal announcement of the deal is forthcoming ….. In a situation that will have him relocating to the network’s Chicago headquarters, Scott Krus – station manager of religious teaching WCRF “Moody Radio,” Cleveland – is promoted to general manager of the national Moody Radio Network. Three-month vice president, and former GM, Doug Hastings states, “Scott has the background, skills, and passion to take Moody Radio into our next season. He is very well known at Moody Radio; respected by staff and industry leaders; and has proven that he will effectively lead Moody Radio as general manager.” Krus, who begins his new duties in approximately four weeks (9/1), comments, “I am grateful for the opportunity to serve our teams and [am] energized by the challenge of navigating this ever-changing landscape of media ministry. I believe that Moody is strategically-positioned to expand on its role as a leader in the industry and uniquely equipped to inspire listeners to take that next step in their walk with Jesus Christ. I am looking forward with great excitement to all that God will do in the days to come.”

Paul Manafort Trial/Gates Testimony, Kushner Deleted Stories, Midterm Races, California Wildfire, MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/6). The trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort highlighted by the juicy testimony of Rick Gates; claims that Jared Kushner deleted sensitive stories at his newspaper; the attempted drone assassination attempt of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro;  this fall’s midterm elections; the deadly California wildfire; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Premiere Promotes Silcock to VP/Affiliate Relations – Morning Shows. Six-year, New York City-based director of affiliate relations Casey Silcock receives vice president stripes from Premiere Networks. In the newly-created position of vice president of affiliate relations – morning shows, Silcock will oversee affiliate sales and serve as the syndicator’s brand manager for programs featuring Elvis Duran; Bobby Bones; Brooke & JubalJohnjay & Rich; and Kane. Senior vice president of affiliate relations/talk and morning shows Peter Tripi comments, “Casey has been a valuable member of our team for the past six years, and he has made significant contributions to the growth of our industry-leading morning shows. I’m confident his leadership, sound judgment, and solid relationships with affiliate stations and talent alike will drive continued success for our programming.” Silcock previously was head of promotion for Verve Music Group, a division of Universal Music Group, and held management promotion and marketing positions at Virgin Records America.

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Weekend WTXF-TV “Fox 29,” Philadelphia sports anchor Sean Brace will appear each Friday at 8:20 am on iHeartMedia Philadelphia rhythmic hot AC WISX “Real 106.1” during “Chio in the AM.” In addition, Brace will contribute to the station’s website and host a Saturday night (7:00 pm – 12:00 midnight) music show. He formerly was heard on cross-town Greater Media (now Beasley Media Group) sports talk WPEN-FM “97.5 The Fanatic” ….. It is an eventful day for San Antonio air-on talent named “Cortez.” Taking to Facebook, Tony Cortez announces he is leaving his position as assistant program director/afternoon drive talent at Alpha Media’s  CHR KTFM “Energy 94.1,” while “The Dana Cortez Show” was missing this morning at cross-town Univision Radio-owned rhythmic CHR KBBT “98.5 The Beat.” On Twitter, Dana Cortez tweets, “We have some exciting things in the works & want you to be part of.” ….. Promotions coordinator/night personality Edwin Guevara is elevated to promotions director/afternoon host at Townsquare Media Trenton, New Jersey CHR WPST “94.5 – Your New #1 Hit Music Station.” He replaces Tom Shinn, who exited last month. Guevara is approaching his third year at the station, arriving from Kemp Broadcasting Las Vegas rhythmic CHR KVEG “Hot 97.5” ….. Former Bonneville country KYGO, Denver program director Eddie Haskell is named senior vice president of programming for iHeartMedia’s Fort Collins (Colorado) stations. According to iHeartMedia Denver area president Amy Griesheimer, “I am thrilled to have someone of Eddie’s caliber and expertise partner with us to lead [our] Northern Colorado dynasty. Eddie’s passion and brand knowledge are unmatched.” Denver region senior vice president of programming Jason McCollim notes, “Eddie’s knowledge and experience in Colorado radio are second to none. His addition to the Fort Collins team will only help to increase our already strong footprint in Northern Colorado.” Haskell adds, “I am so stoked to join the team at iHeartMedia Fort Collins. We have great brands, great programmers, and a great management team.” His prior background includes being operations manager for Cumulus Media Albuquerque and he has held various programming roles in Detroit (WYCD) and Salt Lake City (KKAT-AM). The iHM cluster in Fort Collins includes country KXBG “Big 97.9”; classic hits-oldies KXBG-HD2 “B-107.3”; classic country KIIX “AM 1410 – Country’s Greatest Hits”; CHR KSME “96.1 – Kiss-FM”; classic rock KPAW “92.9 – The Bear”; alternative KPAW-HD2 “Radio 94.9”; and news/talk KCOL “Fox News Radio 600” ….. Grammy winner – and the first “American Idol” – Kelly Clarkson is filming a pilot for a daytime (TV) talk show.  Clarkson has a deal with NBC Entertainment, but the pilot is currently not attached to any network; it is potentially being shopped for a fall 2019 debut.

Monday, August 6, 2018

| August 6, 2018

Bonneville To Close on Eight Entercom Stations. All of those particular properties being disposed are in California and have been held in an FCC disposition trust. Bonneville has been operating them under Local Marketing Agreements since the closing of Entercom’s merger with CBS Radio. Acquired by Bonneville from Entercom for a total of $141 million in cash are: CHR KMVQ “99.7 New Hit Music Now”; urban AC KBLX “102.9 The Soul of the Bay”; and adult contemporary KOIT-FM “96.5 Today’s Hits & Yesterday’s Favorites” (all in San Francisco); San Jose classic rocker KUFX “98.5 K-Fox – The South Bay’s Classic Rock”; as well as KHTK “Sports 1140”; KNCI “New Country 105.1”; adult contemporary KYMX “Mix 96 – Today’s Hits, Yesterday’s Favorites”; and hot AC KZZO “Now 100.5 – Today’s Best Hits” (all in Sacramento). The transaction is expected to close either late in the third-quarter of this year, or early in the fourth-quarter. Among persons 6+ in Nielsen Audio’s June 2018 San Francisco sweep, KMVQ and KOIT-FM are tied in fourth-place (3.8), while KBLX is #12 (3.0). In San Jose, KUFX ranks fourth (5.2, 6+). Meanwhile, in Sacramento, KYMX places third (5.9); KNCI is sixth (4.3); KZZO ranks eighth (4.1); and KHTK finishes at #25 (.9, 6+).

One Person Injured at WORT Shooting. Police in Madison, Wisconsin are saying that a shooting shortly after 3:00 am yesterday (8/5) inside Back Porch Radio Broadcasting’s WORT “89.9 Community Radio” does not appear to be a random attack. There’s no known motive and no suspect is in custody. Nonetheless, a man wearing a mask and hood entered the station during the transition between the 12:00 midnight and 3:00 am programs and opened fire on three station workers. Witnesses say five shots were fired, injuring one 33-year-old man in the buttocks and shattering the glass between studios. The injured station staffer was sent to the hospital but quickly released. Police said there were no signs of forced entry into the building. WORT board president David Devereaux-Weber told the Wisconsin State Journal that the shooter, “fired a number of shots.” He said volunteers ducked for cover; ran into the master control room before hiding in the music library; and called 911. Devereaux-Weber said that a code is needed to enter the building. It is unclear whether the shooter knew the code or held the door open after someone entered the station. Multiple volunteers arrived to help get the station back on the air at 9:38 am. WORT reportedly plans to tighten security.

Apple Podcasts, Facebook Latest to Remove Jones Podcasts. As we reported last Friday (TALKERS.com, 8/3),  Alex Jones has had a number of his podcast episodes pulled from Spotify’s service after the digital audio platform concluded the episodes violated its hate content policy. Now, Apple Podcasts and Facebook are taking action against him. Five of Jones’ shows were removed from Apple Podcasts with a spokesperson telling Buzzfeed, “Apple does not tolerate hate speech. We have clear guidelines that creators and developers must follow to ensure we provide a safe environment for all of our users. Podcasts that violate these guidelines are removed from our directory making them no longer searchable or available for download or streaming. We believe in representing a wide range of views, so long as people are respectful to those with differing opinions.” At the same time, Facebook removed “The Alex Jones Page,” The Alex Jones Channel Page,” “The Infowars Page,” and “The Infowars Nightly News Page.” Facebook notes, “Upon review, we have taken [the content] down for glorifying violence, which violates our graphic violence policy, and using dehumanizing language to describe people who are transgender, Muslims and immigrants, which violates our hate speech policies. While much of the discussion around Infowars has been related to false news, which is a serious issue that we are working to address by demoting links marked wrong by fact checkers and suggesting additional content, none of the violations that spurred [these] removals were related to this.” Reacting to the earlier Spotify situation, Jones – who is syndicated to radio stations by Genesis Communications Network – said the action is “what I expect. I was born in censorship.  I was born being suppressed.”

Entravision Q2 Radio Revenue Flat. Second-quarter radio revenue for Entravision Communications was unchanged at $17.24 million, while television was off 3% to $36.531 million; digital increased 32% to $20.558 million. Chairman and chief executive officer Walter Ulloa notes that, “Growth in our digital media segment offsets a decrease in our television segment, while our radio segment was flat. We improved our free cash flow and net income over last year’s second quarter. We continued to build our digital footprint through our acquisition of a digital advertising technology company, while implementing steps to more efficiently align operations and reduce costs. Looking ahead, we remain well-positioned to build on our success in further attracting Latino and other audiences worldwide, and expanding our advertiser base to the benefit of our shareholders.” Entravision’s board declared a nickel per share quarterly cash dividend for Class A, Class B and Class U common stockholders. The dividend is payable next month (9/28) to shareholders of record as of September 14.

Kwei-Cook Promoted to Radio One Charlotte LSM. Integrated marketing specialist Debbie Kwei-Cook is elevated to local sales manager of Radio One Charlotte. According to vice president and general manager Doug James, “Debbie has a long history of success in Charlotte and with Radio One. She has been a top performer in our company, most recently winning the President’s Club Award the past two years as the top salesperson and she has extensive management experience.  I’m thrilled to be able to have Debbie bring her knowledge, passion, and leadership to our management team.” Kwei-Cook comments, “I look forward to helping the local sales department develop strategic marketing campaigns to drive sales for local businesses.” Kwei-Cook previously spent 11 years as vice president and general manager of Radio One Charlotte and more than ten years as general sales manager of CBS Radio Charlotte. Since October 2012, she has been chief operating officer/president of My Talent Bank Group. 

Crossover Media Group Sales Adds Sports Programs. The company will be responsible for advertising sales and assist with production for “DeSean Jackson One-on-One,” a weekly podcast featuring the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver. In addition, CMGS will syndicate/handle ad sales for “VSiN Action Update,” a series of sports betting vignettes – fed twice each weekday – from the first network dedicated to sports gambling information, Brent Musburger-founded VSiN (Vegas Stats & Information Network). In association with Sports USA and its founder Larry Kahn, CMGS will launch “The Buck Stops Here,” a twice-weekly football podcast hosted by former Indianapolis Colts tight end Charles Arbuckle. A weekly podcast hosted by Joe Morgan – “Classic Conversations with Joe Morgan” – will feature the MLB Hall of Fame second baseman speaking with some of the biggest names in sports history. Crossover Media Group Sales managing member Ron Hartenbaum comments, “The recent Supreme Court decision on sports wagering has opened up enormous opportunities to generate local ad revenue, not just on sports radio stations but within the rock and country formats – namely, anywhere men are listening. We are thrilled to be able to add the new VSiN content, as well as the new offerings from DeSean, Larry, Joe, and Charles to our expanding lineup of show offerings to marketing partners.”

CONSULTANT OPINION:  Rush Limbaugh Affiliates Should PANDER to Trump Fans.  In an opinion piece posted today (8/6), media consultant Holland Cooke writes that Rush Limbaugh affiliates should capitalize on the solid numbers available to them by taking advantage of Limbaugh’s recent ratings increases and telling ardent supporters of President Trump exactly what they want to hear.  Cooke writes, “’Pander.’” That is your one-word, sure-shot ratings success strategy… Check logic at the door.  Unlike those pesky fact-checkers, Trump supporters take him seriously-but-not-literally.  Our job is to exploit THE – repeat, THE – best thing that ever happened to talk radio, the Trump presidency.”  To read the entire piece, please click here.

CONSULTANT OPINION:  A Real Producer Can Protect a Talk Show Host from Saying Something Stupid.  Former WWRL 1600 AM, New York executive producer, Jeffrey Haveson – now an independent news/talk programming consultant – writes a provocative opinion piece posted in TALKERS today (8/6) stating that incidents such as the recent “Turban Man” controversy at New Jersey 101.5, Trenton could be avoided if radio stations employed what he calls “real” producers.  Haveson writes, “Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco are back at Trenton-based New Jersey 101.5 after a 10-day suspension, but what have we learned from this as an industry?  For those who don’t know or have forgotten, the suspension was meted out to Dennis and Judi after they repeatedly called New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewalon, who is a Sikh, ‘the guy with the turban’ and ‘Turban Man,’ and Dennis defended the name calling by saying ‘if that offends you, then don’t wear the turban (man) and I’ll remember your name.’ This is a perfect example of why talk radio stations, be they public or commercial, news talk, conservative talk, progressive talk, sports talk, financial talk, or other, need real producers.  By real producers, I do not mean the glorified gofers and ‘yes people’ that many stations call producers nor an overworked board op who is also charged with screening calls and chasing down guests.  On the other hand, by real producers, I also don’t mean someone who acts as the host’s supervisor.  The program director should be the supervisor over both the host and the producer. A real producer is a trusted partner to both the program director and host, who shares their vision for this particular program and the station in general, and supports the host in creating content that fits that vision.  It is all about the vision.  If the host and/or the producer don’t have the same vision for the program as the program director, one or both of them need to be replaced.”  To read the entire opinion piece, please click here.

WPRO-AM Inks Five-Year Deal for P.C. Basketball. Beginning with the upcoming season, Cumulus Media Providence news/talk WPRO-AM will become the official radio home of Providence College men’s basketball. It is part of a five-year agreement with Providence College Athletics and its multimedia rights holder, Learfield. Cumulus Media Providence market manager Holly Paras declares, “Providence College is the premier men’s college basketball program in Southern New England. We are enthused about the partnership and look forward to many great seasons of Friar basketball.” Providence College athletics director Bob Driscoll comments, “Cumulus Media has the top radio brands in our market and this will provide unlimited marketing and exposure opportunities for us. This is a tremendous partnership for our basketball program and our fans.” The school’s men’s basketball coach Ed Cooley adds, “WPRO [AM] is a big part of the culture of radio in Rhode Island and Southeastern New England. I believe this will provide our fans the opportunity to get more coverage and access of Friar basketball. We are looking forward to hitting the airwaves on WPRO [AM], the new home of Providence College men’s basketball.” John Rooke and Joe Hassett, the voices of Friar basketball for more than 30 years, will call all Friar games this season. “The Ed Cooley Radio Show” will air on select weeknights throughout the season.

TALKERS News Notes. Former NFL lineman Orlando Franklin joins Bonneville Denver sports talk KKFN “Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan.” According to KKFN program director Armen Williams, “We are really excited to have Orlando as part of our championship team – he has a sincere passion to be on ‘The Fan.’ It’s great to have Orlando on our game day on-air presentation.” Originally drafted in the second round by the Denver Broncos in 2011, Franklin retired in May and he notes, “I’ve known this is what I’ve wanted to do after football for years. I love the interaction the sports radio platform provides. It is an honor to now be on the same team as a lot of these guys that I’ve listened to my whole career.” In addition to the Broncos, Franklin has played for the San Diego Chargers, New Orleans Saints, and Washington Redskins ….. Meanwhile, six-year KILT-AM “Sports Radio 610” veteran Ted Johnson departs the afternoon program (“Triple Threat”) at the Entercom Houston outlet. A rotating group of analysts will join remaining co-hosts Sean Pendergast and Rich Lord. Former New England Patriots linebacker Johnson is reportedly moving back to Boston to be closer to his children ….. Tulsa’s NBC-TV affiliate, KJRH-TV “2 Works For You,” will be providing news and weather content for that market’s iHeartMedia cluster. “Our staff is very excited to work with the team at Channel 2,” comments iHeartMedia area president Jon Phillips. [Meteorologist] Mike Collier is a favorite in our building; he and his team will sound great delivering weather to the iHeart audiences. Keeping our listeners safe is our first priority and the team at Channel 2 will ensure just that.” The iHeartMedia Tulsa group consists of sports talk KTBZ “1430 The Buzz”; sports talk KAKC “1300 The Buzz”; rock KMOD; country KTGX “106.1 The Twister”; CHR KTBT “92.1 The Beat”; regional Mexican KIZS “101.5 El Patron”; and classic rock KTGX-HD2 “93.5 The Jet.” KJRH-TV had been working with the Scripps cluster; however, when Scripps sold its Tulsa stations to Griffin Communications, it joined forces with Griffin’s CBS affiliate in the Oklahoma metro, KOTV-TV ….. This past Friday (8/3), Townsquare Media’s KFYO “News/Talk 95.1 & 790,” Lubbock (Texas) originated Chad Hasty’s 8:30 am – 11:00 am show from Austin’s Resurgent Gathering. Among those Hasty interviewed there were Texas senator Ted Cruz and Texas GOP chair James Dickey ….. Speaking of Townsquare Media Lubbock, Dave Dunaway is named regional operations/programming manager for its stations there, as well as in Odessa-Midland. There are ten Townsquare Media facilities in those two Texas metros. Dunaway most recently programmed and did afternoon drive at Cumulus Media Fort Walton Beach (Florida) country outlet WYZB “Nash FM.” He has also worked for WZZK, Birmingham, as well as WTGE “100.7 The Tiger,” Baton Rouge.

WRKO, Boston Morning Co-Host Kim Carrigan Is This Week’s Guest on Harrison Podcast. One of the most familiar figures in local Boston talk media, Kim Carrigan, is this week’s guest on the award-winning PodcastOne series, “The Michael Harrison Interview.” For the past several years, Carrigan – a political moderate with a background in journalism – has co-hosted WRKO, Boston’s 6:00 am to 10:00 am morning show, sharing the mic with conservative personality Doug “VB” Goudie and the program’s on-air producer Jim Clerkin, who is liberal as well as openly gay. The result is a dynamic, eclectic mix of topics and opinions on a station otherwise positioned in a more purely conservative orientation. Prior to joining WRKO as a talk show host, Carrigan spent a number of years as a Boston television personality on several local stations, most recently co-hosting the popular morning news/chat show on WFXT-TV (Fox 25). She and Harrison discuss the differences between radio and TV morning news/talk, the evolving role of women in radio, the challenges of balancing local and national issues in the Trump era, and the strategy of expanding the target base on a predominantly conservative station. Harrison, who occasionally serves as a fill-in host on WRKO, including its morning show, says, “Kim Carrigan is one of the best local talk show hosts in radio today. She brings journalistic sensibility and fairness to the table without sacrificing the power of opinion that fuels the news/talk format. She projects youthful dynamism tempered by seasoned journalism and general life experience – a great combination. She has the glamor of celebrity balanced with a down-to-earth neighborly persona. The WRKO morning show is an interesting exercise in navigating the turbulent waters of today’s news/talk radio conversation. It’s wonderful having Kim as a guest on the podcast.” To listen to the podcast in its entirety, please click here or click on the player box marked “The Michael Harrison Interview” located in the right-hand column on every page of Talkers.com.

Flair for Fort Myers. The “Nature Boy” himself – Ric Flair – is among the grapplers scheduled to appear when Beasley Media Group presents the inaugural “Legends of Wrestling” event next month (9/15) in Fort Myers at Suncoast Credit Union Arena. The “ultimate fan experience” will kick off with a behind-the-scenes VIP meet and greet and question & answer session (3:30 pm – 5:30 pm). In addition, there will be an opportunity to take photos with the wrestlers (5:00 pm – 7:00 pm) before the matches begin at 7:00 pm. As well as Flair, other “sports entertainment” stars slated to be on the card include Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat; Jim “Hacksaw” Duggan; Jimmy “The Mouth of the South” Hart; and The Nasty BoysBrian Knobs & Jerry Sags. Ticket prices range from $20.02 for general admission to $210.82 for VIP and ringside seating. Beasley Media Group’s six-station Fort Myers cluster consists of sports talk WWCN “99.3 ESPN Southwest Florida”; news/talk WJBX; adult contemporary WJPT “Sunny 106.3”; CHR WXKB “B-103.9”; WRXK “96 K-Rock”; and Spanish tropical WRXK-HD2 “98.1 Playa.”      

Trump-Russia Investigation, Manafort Trial, Trump Rally/Mid-Term Elections, New China Tariffs, and MLB Action Among Top News/Talk Stories this Past Weekend  (8/4-5).  The Robert Mueller-led investigation into possible connections between Trump campaign operatives and Russia agents; the trial of former Trump campaign manager Paul ManafortPresident Trump’s Tampa rally for Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis and the larger, mid-term election picture; Trump’s threat to add tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods; and Major League Baseball action were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.

 

 

Music Radio News and Career Moves. Starting today (8/6), DSC rejoins iHeartMedia San Diego classic rock KGB-FM for 6:00 am – 10:00 am duty. DSC consists of Dave Rickards, Cookie “Chainsaw” Randolph, Chris Boyer, Nina “Ruth 66” Reeba, Emily Maguire, and Sarah Beebe. Coinciding with DSC returning to KGB for morning drive, Bob & Coe move from mornings to afternoon drive; Clint August segues from afternoon drive to middays; and Marc Coppola will host nights. Market president Melissa Forrest comments, “Bringing DSC home to KGB and reinforcing the station with heritage talent like Clint, and Bob & Coe is a reflection of the power behind KGB’s legendary call letters. We are immensely proud to bring this lineup to San Diego’s loyal rock listeners.” Rickards remarks, “After 28 years as the top-rated morning show in San Diego, DSC has come full-circle with its return to the legendary KGB-FM. I’ve always felt that KGB was our home, and nothing beats a happy homecoming.” Meanwhile, “Chainsaw” adds, “It feels amazing to bring DSC back to where it all began. We are thrilled to continue making you smile and laugh coffee out of your nose every morning.” ….. Following April’s departure by morning hosts Mason & Remy, iHeartMedia’s WEBG “Big 95.5 – Chicago’s New Country” transitions the syndicated Bobby Bones show from a delayed nighttime airing to morning drive (5:00 am – 9:00 am). WEBG program director Lance Houston comments, “The Bobby Bones Show really connects with the core country audience more than any other show I’ve ever seen throughout my career. I am truly confident that Bobby Bones and his team will be an entertaining morning show for our one million-plus weekly country radio audience in Chicagoland.” Meanwhile, iHeartMedia Chicago Region president Matt Scarano notes, “We are excited to add the most recognizable name in country radio to our morning lineup.” ….. When hearing that a local wheelchair-bound woman was refused service at a local (St. Peters, Missouri) nail salon, Hubbard St. Louis adult hits WARH “106.5 The Arch” morning co-host Cassiday was “heartbroken.” A representative of another local establishment – Cut and Dye Salon – contacted (“Spencer’s Neighborborhood” member) Cassiday and offered to treat the mother (Dorothy) and daughter (Beth) to a full-day of pampering, noting that everyone should be welcome. Cassiday recounts, “It was shocking to learn that she and her mom went in for a pedicure, only to be told by the salon owner they don’t serve people ‘like her.’ I knew we needed to do something. I was confident, with the power of local radio, ‘The Arch’ could take a hurtful moment and make it positive for them. We had them come in to meet us and surprised them with a spa pedicure live on air. To be able to bring a smile to the face of this young woman was priceless. In days like this, I am reminded of the power of radio and that there are good hearts across the St. Louis bi-state.” ….. “Phoebe’s Flight 5K,” an Entercom Sacramento-hosted event, will take place this Sunday (8/12) at Johnson-Springview Park in Rocklin (California). Emceed by (CHR) KUDL “106.5 The End” morning hosts Gavin Ferguson, Katie, and Rayne, the “rain or shine” happening will feature a fun run for children and a 5K run for adults; post-race activities will follow. Phoebe’s Fund was founded by Ferguson and his wife Stacy in honor of their daughter Phoebe, who was stillborn. Race proceeds will benefit Phoebe’s Fund, a 501(c)(3) charity which helps alleviate the financial burden of parents who have lost a child to miscarriage or stillbirth by providing grants for grief therapy …. WABD “The Gulf Coast’s Hit Music Station,” Mobile mid-day talent Jimmy Steele adds program director duties at the Cumulus Media mainstream CHR. Steele will continue as the cluster’s operations manager and PD of the company’s Mobile news/talker WXQW. Cumulus Media Mobile vice president/market manager Don Boyd comments, “We are fortunate to have deep talent here with one of the country’s top CHR programmers, Jimmy Steele, already in the building. Under Jimmy’s direct leadership, he [will continue] to evolve this legendary radio station.” Steele remarks, “I am excited to roll up my sleeves and splash back into my CHR roots. It is an honor to be able to come to work each day and serve our talented Cumulus Mobile team. They are very supportive and for that, I am grateful.” Steele previously programmed several iHeartMedia stations and was operations director/brand manager for Saga Communications in Columbus. He succeeds Sid Kelly, who transfers to Cumulus Media Indianapolis as program director of CHR WYRG “Energy 93.9.” ….. WRUF, Gainesville names Justin “Tyler” Clapp brand manager/afternoon personality at the University of Florida-owned country outlet. Most recently, Clapp was operations manager for Townsquare Media Fort Collins (Colorado) and brand manager of country KUAD. He formerly programmed WWGR, Fort Myers (Florida) from 2007-2009, and was Great Eastern’s director of programming ….. Vice president of operations Don London is celebrating his 25th year at Entercom Norfolk.

Two Cool Cats.  A couple of rock ‘n’ roll’s coolest cats got together in the Los Angeles studios of SiriusXM Satellite Radio this past week.  The legendary Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon (pictured right), whose numerous hits from the 1960s include “Palisades Park,” “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans,” “Tallahassee Lassie” and more, visited with Stray Cats drummer Slim Jim Phantom (left) to record an interview for Jim’s Sunday night show, “Rockabilly Rave Up” heard on the “Underground Garage” channel.  The interview will be aired on 8/19 at 8:00 pm ET.